Wheel shimmy at 65+ - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 10-12-2011
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Wheel shimmy at 65+

99 3.0 2wd

I recently had my oil pan gasket and main seal replaced by a shop. Not sure how they got to those parts but my steering wheel was way off when I got it back.

I also replaced (DIY) the front and rear shocks (sensatracs) the fronts were shot. After replacing the shocks I went for an alignment to get the steering wheel straight (lifetime alignment at Firestone)

In any case the truck definitely handles better. However, I was driving the interstate (65-70 mph )and on a very smooth stretch of asphalt with a curve in the road the steering wheel started to shimmy very hard. It started to smooth out after I coasted to a slower speed (60 mph) and the road straightened out On another stretch, the whole truck started to shake at 70 mph after going over a bump in the road.

Any ideas? The wheel shimmy is not consistent at speeds of 65-70. The shimmy is only at curves and bumps taken at speeds of 65+

Thanks!

Last edited by atlsud; 10-13-2011 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 10-12-2011
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Tires not balanced or camber off. That happend to me. (camber)
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Old 10-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEdge126 View Post
Tires not balanced or camber off. That happend to me. (camber)
Thanks BigE.
Don't think it is the tire balance because there was no change and the tire was never off.

According to the alignment print out the left front camber is -0.3 the right is -1.1 Do I bring it back to adjust the front right camber?
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Old 10-12-2011
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Could also be a bad U-joint. Where do you feel the shimmy? steering wheel?
I'd bet money on Camber or off balance tire. It dosen't have to come off the truck to become off balance.
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Old 10-12-2011
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Originally Posted by StxDangerRanger View Post
Could also be a bad U-joint. Where do you feel the shimmy? steering wheel?
I'd bet money on Camber or off balance tire. It dosen't have to come off the truck to become off balance.
STX,

The shimmy on a curve seems to come from the steering wheel. The shimmy off a bump in the road shakes the whole front end and steering wheel.

I've been reading on camber kits/bolts. Is this something that I will need to correct the camber? Also, is the camber on the right side of -1.1 enough to cause this?

Thanks
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Old 10-12-2011
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I don't know offhand what the usual specs for Camber is. I dont think 1.1 is too far off. however that could be it. bolts or spacers may be worn.
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Old 10-12-2011
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https://www.ranger-forums.com/suspension-tech-36/adjustable-alighnment-botls-127474/ read this. your camber may be "in spec" but not perfect. So this may help.

so many possibilites here. If youre pretty damn sure your alignment and balance are fresh then I would look at ball joints/tie rod ends/wheel bearnings etc. had the same issue with my truck. It woul dbe fine around town but on the highway it would shake you to death. replaced all above named components and glides at 100mph
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Old 10-13-2011
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A little more info is needed here. Before you took it to the shop that disturbed the FEA, how long had it been since you had it at the speeds that caused the vibration at those speeds? And prior to this shop visit, was there even the slightest hint of any vibration? After you got it back from the shop that disturbed the FEA, how many miles (about) did you put on it?

*Firestoned should have inspected your front end for worn/damaged parts before doing the alignment, that's just part of doing the job right. In your case, they may have possibly jumped to the conclusion that a toe adjustment was all that was needed; did you tell them the history?

*Firestone, like a whole lot of front end shops, absolutely loves to sell people parts and the labor, including parts and labor for repairs that you don't even need. Like when Firestoned tried to tell me and show me I had a worn idler arm, and no, it didn't have any slop in it either...............but they got real quiet when I pulled the receipt out of my glove box for the idler that I bought and installed two weeks prior and showed it to them. I was young, but I was not dumb, I found some crooks. I never, ever have gone back to that place. The reason lifetime FEA warranties exist is to sell people parts/labor down the road, that's how they recoup the expense of a few "free" alignments.

*If you put on your own front end parts, would they do a free alignment under that warranty or did your work/work done by other than Firestoned void the alignment warranty, meaning they want you to pay once again? Just curious.
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Old 10-13-2011
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im gonna go with either the tires are out of balance or your outer tie rods are junk
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Old 10-13-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowboyBilly9Mile View Post
A little more info is needed here. Before you took it to the shop that disturbed the FEA, how long had it been since you had it at the speeds that caused the vibration at those speeds? And prior to this shop visit, was there even the slightest hint of any vibration? After you got it back from the shop that disturbed the FEA, how many miles (about) did you put on it?
There was a little shimmy on certain stretches of interstate before the oil pan gasket repair caused the steering wheel to be off. I probably put on 20 mile before I took it to Firestone for the alignment. Not sure if the high speed vibrations were there before the Firestone alignment as I did not drive it on the interstate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CowboyBilly9Mile View Post
*Firestoned should have inspected your front end for worn/damaged parts before doing the alignment, that's just part of doing the job right. In your case, they may have possibly jumped to the conclusion that a toe adjustment was all that was needed; did you tell them the history?
They remembered that I had a recent (4 months ago) alignment, I told them that the oil pan gasket was replaced prior to my bringing in the truck for alignment. I don't recall if I mentioned that I replaced the front and rear shocks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CowboyBilly9Mile View Post
*If you put on your own front end parts, would they do a free alignment under that warranty or did your work/work done by other than Firestoned void the alignment warranty, meaning they want you to pay once again? Just curious.
Not sure on that but, I'm not going to offer up that information anyway.

Last edited by atlsud; 10-13-2011 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 10-14-2011
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Ok, so it was shaking to some degree before the guy worked on it. If all front end parts are in fact tight, including bushings and wheel bearings, then I'd focus on tire/wheel balance, inspect for a separation/bulge in a tire, and check the rims to make sure they aren't bent. The last two aren't normally done during an alignment as they aren't alignment concerns, but a different issue.

*Ya know, to replace the rear main engine seal he pulled the driveshaft. Most service manuals make a big deal about making sure the driveshaft get's installed (indexed) in the same position it was when it was removed, and tell you to mark it so this can be accomplished. Personally, I've been in situations where I had no idea what it was like before I assembled, and I've never had a problem, but still................I have to wonder if in your case this didn't happen and it matters. Not that this would explain why it shook before he worked on it, but still. I'd keep this thought in your back pocket for now.

**The reason I asked my earlier questions was to get a little history. Since it shook before this guy worked on it, and now after he worked on it, tire balance cannot automatically be ruled out. Some with the other things I mentioned in the first paragraph. Happily, all of the things other than the balance you can do yourself in little time.
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Old 10-18-2011
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Thanks for all your posts.

The major shops would not balance my tires stating uneven tread wear on the outer edge. Had a independent tire guy balance them for $30. Even that was a hard sell as he was telling me that no amount of balancing would fix it. The good news is that the shimmy is gone for now.
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Old 10-18-2011
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Your story sounds just like mine.
Uneven tire wear, My shocks were shot when I bought the truck in march. Bad shocks will cause the uneven tire wear, when I finally had mine balanced after changing the shocks they were out of round and almost 2 ounces off on each wheel. They run smoother at highway speeds but the out of round condition still causes some annoying vibration and uneven braking.
My tires were bad enough that they actually wore out my front wheel bearings in 2 months.
It wasnt until I bought new rims and tires and changed out the wheel bearings a second time that it rides nice and smooth,
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Old 10-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlsud View Post
Thanks for all your posts.

The major shops would not balance my tires stating uneven tread wear on the outer edge. Had a independent tire guy balance them for $30. Even that was a hard sell as he was telling me that no amount of balancing would fix it. The good news is that the shimmy is gone for now.
Good to hear that not only did it work out, but you now know what to do when it comes back to a point that it bugs you. One hint to support the tire/wheel problem was when you replaced the shocks. Out of balance, and in particular and especially, out of round tires strip a lot of life out of shocks since the shock is always in motion, working, and degrading at an accelerated rate. Out of round tires/wheels bounce, pound and hop (and wear shocks), tires out of balance from side to side create a force equivalent to a wobble and produce a shake (think, side-to-side), and that get's transmitted and noticed at the steering wheel.

You probably know this, but the reason shops were shying away is that tires worn out of round and egg shaped still feel funny and balancing doesn't cure that one. Tires with odd, irregular wear patterns, which sound like yours, can also suffer from problems since as the tire wears, your balance changes. Gotta start with a good tire to get the best results from balancing over the life of the tire.
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